Direct Routing vs. Sends?

Watched the vids, can’t figure out when I would not be able to do something with sends instead of needing CP8’s direct routing. Any help? … Thanks!

Hi - sorry to bump, but now that 7.5.40 is out I’m looking at vids for Cubase 8 again to help me decide which one to upgrade to.

Can someone explain please what advantages Direct Routing has that I would be lacking if I just used Sends to different destinations? I’m just not able to figure that out from what I’m looking at in the vids … :frowning:

Thanks -

Sends let you control the amount, routing is pre fader. I route my kick to a drum buss, then I route my kick to a bass buss… I send my kick to reverbs, flange, etc.

Direct Routing channel outputs are post fade and panner.

They have no independent level controls as do sends.
They are either on or off.

I believe their main function is to allow one to produce stems - which when doing post work are submixes of related material - like sound effects, Nats, Strings, percussion, etc.
With these direct outs you can export your main mix AND several “stems” all in one go.

These “stems” allow for more flexibility in the final mix to picture - and also allow for easier last minute editing.

However, the direct outs are what they are. They can send a channel to groups, also (always post fade). Their on/off state can, of course, be automated. I’m sure there are other creative possibilities here.


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Direct Routing channel outputs are post fade and panner.

Last night in Cubase 7.5.20 I made some stems, and batch-exported them simultaneously (piano. vocals, drums). My workflow is to have several “sub-master Groups” for each of those, just to the left of the Master Out, it is those submasters I use for stems.

Would I be right in thinking the only advantage the Direct Outs would have for me is that it would take less clicking to set those up than my “sub-master Groups”? I just have the nagging feeling I’m missing something important about the Direct Outs …


sometimes I make mistakes.

It wasn’t my intention to mislead and figured my explanation was good. two main reason to use one or other… either you want control or you want direct.

You know, I’m not sure what SB had in mind with these - so I guess I’m missing it also.

I mean, they are basically Fixed-Level Fixed-Post-Fade Sends. Sends could be used for the same purpose - but there are only 8 and, of course, more is better.

They definitely work well creating Stems for Post work - as I suggested - whether you use Groups or Outputs for that purpose.

Or, they could be thought of as a classic “Bus”, as the mild-mannered soft-spoken Suntower suggested (also complaining that SB had been promising them forever - this around 6.x - and had not delivered - I guess he’s happy now) in this post: Any Word On Direct Routing? - Cubase - Steinberg Forums

And then they have that odd feature of only being able to select one output at a time (unless you enable “Summing” mode). What’s that about?
I first thought that this was meant to prevent you from sending a single channel to more than one “Stem” (This would upset the balance of the mix when the Stems were combined). But that doesn’t quite work because if you’re using outputs for Stems you can’t send to the correct Stem AND the Main Mix (without entering “Summing” mode - safety off!). If you’re using Groups it makes more sense because your Groups/Stems would then send to the Mains.

And I can’t remember a Console (as Suntower seems to suggest) that only allows you to send to ONE Bus at a time. . .

Another use: Someone here asked why it was called “Summing” mode - since you’re not summing anything - more like “Splitter” or “Mult” Mode.
Somebody else answered that it was because you could set up as many outputs as your interface allowed - and then each Channel/Group/Output whatever could be sent to one of them . . and then “Summed” in the Analog Domain externally (as some like to do but not me).
Well . . That’s a great Idea! . . but then you would NOT be using “summing” mode because you would only want each Source to go to ONE summing output.

So I’m confused.
Love to hear other ideas.

But it IS a cool feature - which provides ALL of the possibilities above - and more.


PS You know, the whole Bus vs Send/Aux thing is kind of fading in Hardware Consoles and DAWs, I think, as well it should IMHO.
Given the digital nature of everything today they should just be “Outputs” (a BUNCH of 'em), selectable individually from anywhere in the channels signal path, with variable level.
I think Yamaha calls them “Mixes”, on their consoles.

I’m still old school enough to want ONE main MAIN, however. Avoids confusion.

I agree that the feature may have some applications that I’m not aware of. I guess the main feature is that you can automate the routing. For example, if you have a track with PFX footsteps and then dialog, you’re able to route the footsteps to the SFX bus and then pop back to the Dialog bus for the dialog, without having to cut up the audio, move it to a different track, etc. But I wonder if this would actually be easier in practice. I also agree that the “summing” mode is strange nomenclature.

Yes, direct routing has some really good uses.
It WAS designed for post in Nuendo, and now have been added to Cubase.

Yes the summing mode is a bit misleading, especially if you read the manual, so don’t :slight_smile:. It’s basically just a switch for the default action when flipping the switches.

Why you would want to route a signal just to one bus? Isn’t that obvious?
In most cases you do not want to route a signal to multiple buses (parallel processing not included). So you want to send it to your strings or your brass stems never ever both. And you DONT want to send it to your MASTER main mix at the same time, because you want any additional processing done on the stems to end up on the master so you route the STEMS to the MASTER.
So you see, a single route is what you would do most of the time.
And yes the point is that you can automate the routing switching when needed. This is really powerful when mixing using a real controller and staying away from the project edit window. It’s much faster. But if you are using mouse and keyboard and stare at the project window all day, then it is often faster to just move the sound to the appropriate track then changing the routing.

It’s all about workflow. And we all work differently.

Many composers do ship incorrect stems when delivering material.
The sum of the stems should equal the master, and the best way to accomplish that is that the sum of the stems IS the master.

Now someone will say they need to have that master buss compressor or limiter to make the mix work… I know, and that is a drawback you will have to learn to live with and implement in a different way. Or be content with that your master and your stems will never ever match.
You can get there almost with side chaning linked processing on the stems, but it won’t quite be the same.

So if anyone will use your stems they will lose your master processing to, and if that is a big part of your sound then your music won’t sound the way you expect it to.


Direct routing can be useful if you have several ‘main-outs’, and want to explore differing processing approaches for your mix. Route your tracks/groups to several outs, and switch between your outs (ie., mix ‘versions’) instantly. I use it primarily to A/B compression settings.

Well, it is certainly clear, now.

Thanks for the excellent explanation!

I have always used Groups for my Stems in Cubase because . . well . . it WAS the only way to do it.
But it seems it’s still the most effective method.


Oh, no!

Beerbong’s post disappeared!

And it was another great idea:

In my use-case the need for Direct Routing is for VI’s and Rewire tracks, and Audio tracks that have ‘special’ fx and require live parameter tweaking.

In all these cases I want to record the audio that I hear to a new track ‘input’ and without Direct Routing the only other possible way that I know of is to create extra group channels to facilitate this recording. So ultimately less things to go wrong, less channel configurations etc help to keep these routing hidden and seamless makes the DAW much more enjoyable to me.


Create one or more “dummy” output tracks - pick them up as the source for a new audio track - and with one click you’ve taken your source off the mains and routed it to this new track.
You could even combine several tracks to this new “bounce” track. Using Q Link it would be . . well . . 2 clicks!


So how are you using direct outs? WITHOUT Groups:

Acoustic Guitar tracks------>
Electric Guitar Tracks------> Guitars Output (Direct Routing) & Master Bus (Direct Routing) simultaneously
Bass Guitar Tracks---------->

or WITH Groups:

Acoustic Guitar tracks------> Acst Gtrs GRP--------> Guitars Output (Direct Routing) & Master Bus (Direct Routing)
Electric Guitar Tracks------> Elect Gtrs GRP------> Guitars Output (Direct Routing) & Master Bus (Direct Routing)
Bass Guitar Tracks----------> Bass Gtr GRP---------> Guitars Output (Direct Routing) & Master Bus (Direct Routing)

Misleading name (if fact, implies the opposite = splitter), but the description is not.

Without individual level and pan for each destination, it hardly allows much flexibility, other than deciding what sources the mixes are composed of. This means that the facility is for switching or splitting scenarios only.

Re Summing Mode:

Seems a bit topsy-turvy to me, as it is basically a splitter, which means that the effect would have to be inserted in the source channel, which is then distributed to those stems as pre-processed, rather than ‘apply’ it per se, which is for what an FX channel would be used to apply to a summed signal.

One possible use is for providing multiple output configurations (such as surround, quad, stereo), as per:

Basically, for most users, Direct Routing does not seem to be useful. However, for those requiring the specific routing and splitting advantages it offers, it can save a lot of the clutter or confusion that could result if trying to use sends or groups to do the same thing, especially since it can be automated as well.

It may also be a good way to mix OTB as well. I have yet to muck around with it but it may allow for some very useful and creative routing/processing schemes depending on one’s interface and hardware outboard.

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Patanjali, you are incorrect as you only think about how you use your daw, not about how other do.
Yes the manual has several misunderstandings in this area in how it describes the functions of this. But…
Summing mode does exactly what it says, in OFF it works as a selector (unless user overrides with a keycommand) in ON it works as a multi output router.

I wouldn’t say the primary function for direct routing is to create multiple mixes in the way most folks think about it. But it’s not incorrect as it is possible. To create a alternate mix you do not necessarily have to change the level or pan on the source track, but switching between two different groups with different processing, pan and level certainly can also give you an alternate mix.

But yes it is for splitting or multing signals.

Not useful for most users?
I beg to differ. It’s very useful for anyone that delivers material at a professional level using stems, multiple versions with different target levels.
But if you define most users as hobbyist or basic users using a single stereo out and just creating a single master at any one time it may not be that high on the usability list.

It was a presumptuous statement, but since Cubase is cheap enough for any wannabe recording musician with a daytime job to afford, not likely to be wrong.

Now if Cubase was $10k, ‘most’ would probably be fairly successful industry professionals that would likely need the Direct Routing facility.

Years pass and some features of Cubase suddenly come into their own. With the arrival of Vocal Riders, Direct routing can be used to route all musical components to an instrumental group track that is set to No Bus (in addition to the Stereo Out or similar). The Instrumental Group track can then be used to feed the sidechain function of the vocal rider to keep the vocal above the level of the backing. Works a treat